Miley Cyrus may be currently involved with Liam Hemsworth, but she does not want to label herself.
In a new interview with Variety, the actress said she feels “very neutral” about gender and sexuality.
For Cyrus, who never felt particularly feminine or masculine and never felt the “bisexual” label came close to capturing her sexuality, navigating her identity was difficult. And it wasn’t until the Crisis in Six Scenes actress tapped into the LGBT community in Los Angeles that she was able to tap into her truth.
“I went to the LGBTQ center here in L.A., and I started hearing these stories,” says Cyrus, who has since become a leading activist in the LGBT movement through her Happy Hippie Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to providing resources to LGBT youth, homeless citizens and other vulnerable communities.
Explaining “I don’t feel straight and I don’t feel gay,” Cyrus, who identifies as “pansexual,” added that for a long time, she was confused about what that meant.
“My whole life, I didn’t understand my own gender and my own sexuality. I always hated the word ‘bisexual,’ because that’s even putting me in a box.
I don’t ever think about someone being a boy or someone being a girl,” she said. “My eyes started opening in the fifth or sixth grade. My first relationship in my life was with a chick.”
“Once I understood my gender more, which was unassigned, then I understood my sexuality more,” she added.
Even still, Cyrus says coming out as pansexual to her religious Southern family was a fraught experience. But “the universe has always given me the power to know I’ll be OK,” she says.
Despite her confusion and religious upbringing, Miley knew that she would figure it all out. “The universe has always given me the power to know I’ll be OK,” she adds. “Even at that time, when my parents didn’t understand, I just felt that one day they are going to understand.”
Now engaged to Liam Hemsworth, Miley explains she didn’t really understand her identity until she met other people who thought the way she did.
“Even at that time, when my parents didn’t understand, I just felt that one day they are going to understand.”
And they did — during a heart-rending moment on The Voice.
Cyrus, 23, first discussed being pansexual last year, and told Paper magazine that she doesn’t identify as male or female. Her personal experiences, she added in the Variety interview, are part of why she’s working so hard to help the LGBTQ community via her Happy Hippie Foundation.
“My empowerment comes from feeling like I have a purpose now,” she said. “On my tombstone, I didn’t want the ‘Wrecking Ball’ lyrics. I wanted it to be something greater.”